Hunters bagging fewer deer after harsh winter

Fish and Game says Idaho hunters are harvesting fewer deer this year, after lower fawn survival last winter, but elk hunters are having a decent year.

IDFG Game Manager Jon Rachael says check-station surveys are showing a decrease in success among deer hunters. Through Nov. 2, hunters reported killing 5,605 deer, compared with 6,993 by that date last year. Elk hunters reported killing 3,376 elk , compared with 3,672 last year through Nov. 2.

“We’re going to be down considerably for deer harvest, that’s the early feel.” Rachael said. 

Rachael says Fish and Game reduced the number of available antler-less tags this year based on lower winter survival rates. Managers say the reduction will help increase the number of available tags in future years by preserving doe numbers. 

“We cut back a lot of does harvest to aid deer herds in bouncing back more quickly,” Rachael said. “Deer are very capable of bouncing back quickly after one bad winter.” 

Fish and Game says if our winter this year is "more normal" deer numbers and available tags are likely to increase. 

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